State Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) filed a lawsuit Monday against his 13th district Democratic opponent alleging false impersonation.
Ketron, an incumbent up for re-election this November, was granted a temporary restraining order against Democrat State Senate candidate Debbie Matthews over a campaign e-mail sent under Ketron's name.
"If she is this dishonest during the campaign, I shudder to think how she would act given the opportunity to have the power of the public's trust," Ketron said in a press release.
The lawsuit was filed in the 22nd Judicial District Court in Maury County and names Matthews and her campaign manager Chris Atkins. The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensation for damages.
Ketron alleges that around Sept. 23, the Matthews campaign sent out an e-mail falsely representing the sender as "Bill Ketron." The e-mail solicited donations on behalf of the Matthews campaign.
Matthews calls the lawsuit a distraction from her campaign's focus on Ketron's use of daily allowances for lawmaker expenses as supplemental income.
"Bill Ketron has filed a frivolous complaint two days before early voting to divert attention from his pocketing of $65,000 in taxpayer per diem for hotels he does not stay in," Matthews told the Post. "I pledge that I will never do that."
Matthews got statewide coverage for her focused attack on Ketron's per diem use, but Ketron's campaign says this lawsuit is about making sure Matthews doesn't misrepresent the incumbent.
"We are really trying to get through the election and not try to make it too much of an issue," Ketron Campaign Manager Charlie Brooks said. "We just want her to stop using the e-mail address."
Early voting for this and other statewide office races begins tomorrow. The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 2.